Santa Barbara Blueberries and our neighbors are under an existential threat from as many as eight (8) industrial cannabis sites proposed for development across the 101 and upwind of the beautiful berry fields and oak savannahs of Restoration Oaks Ranch. Please help us ban industrial cannabis sites in our uniquely located and sensitive Nojoqui Creek ecosystems and save the experience of Santa Barbara Blueberries for this and future generations.
Many people around the world know about the UPick berry farm, but there is much more going on here at the ranch than healthy, good-tasting berries. Through the combined efforts of Santa Barbara Blueberries, Rockin' L7 Cattle Company, Restoration Oaks Retreats, Wild Farmlands Foundation and our many community partners, we are innovating and educating the public about agroecology as a better way to grow food, to manage climage change and to regenerate landscapes of all kinds. Agroecology innovations and educational activities on Restoration Oaks include professional field days, planting hundreds of oak trees, replacing synthetic fertilizers with vermicast, docent tours of the berry farm and the worm farm, volunteer youth and adult work days, microbial soil regeneration, climate smart food growing, green waste recycling with local grocery store partners, holistic water management and wildlands restoration, and introducing the public to our living agroecology ambassdors: the tarantulas, toads, composting worms and wildlife of our native oak woodlands and savannahs. All these tremendous community activites and forward-thinking innovations are at risk.
Water overuse is an unmistakably existential threat to us and every other landowner, food growing and agritourism business in and around the Nojoqui Falls Corridor. Continue reading to learn more about this below.
There are other long-term and as yet unquantified threats to us, our neighbors and our customers that will also be introduced with the presence of industrical cannabis. We are disappointed that the county of Santa Barbara considers potential new tax revenues as more valuable than us, the beatiful ecosystems that we are the stewards of and the many food growing and agritourism businesses in and around the Nojoqui Falls Corridor.
Please tell the Santa Barbara Board of Supervisors and the Planning Commissioners that you support a ban on cannabis sites of any kind in the Nojoqui Falls Corridor, which starts at the top of the Nojoqui grade and ends at the Santa Ynez river in Buellton.
CLICK HERE TO SIGN A PETITION TO BAN CANNABIS IN THE NOJOQUI FALLS CORRIDOR FOREVER.
Want to do More?
Write an email or a letter to the Santa Barbara Board of Supervisors, and cc: it to me, Ed Seaman. My wife and I are the grateful owner/operators of Santa Barbara Blueberries and the stewards of Restoration Oaks Ranch. I am also the Executive Director and a co-founder of the Wild Famlands Foundation.
Water Overuse in a Warming Climate Cycle.
According to the Cachuma Water District, the Nojoqui Creek Basin, the rainfall and the first order stream that feeds it has not been studied by any public water agency. We know our water basin is recharged solely by rainfall, and that the tiny Nojoqui Creek (a first order stream) is the primary source of below ground water between the Nojoqui grade and the Santa Ynez River. There simply isn't enough groundwater to support industrial cannabis and the existing oak savannah ecosystems, farms and ranches already growing grapes, berries and foods in the corridor. We aren't guessing- in 2016, our shared well went dry. We need 16-18" of rain per year for our private wells to get us through to the following year. Less rain means diminished aquifer throughout the basin. When it is gone, it is gone for everybody, not just the newly minted industrial cannabis sites currently being processed for approval by the county.
Additional (armored?) cargo van, car and truck traffic in a very short section of 101 ( less than 3 miles long) that has no offramps or onramps. All traffic must accelerate to ~70 MPH from a dead stop. This is difficult for heavy cargo vans and trucks to do. All cannabis sites will have roughly the same harvest seasons with the same peak traffic calendar. Add ~100,000 blueberry season guests to the peak cannabis traffic in May/June/July.
As more counties across the country legalize growing cannabis, the high cost of growing in Santa Barbara County will force growers to grow more per acre (which means more water), grow for the black market (which means more crime), or quit (which means the lands they occupied will be left in disrepair for the landowners and the community). As a blueberry farmer that has already experienced this market shift, I can tell growers and landowners throughout Santa Barbara County that the downward pressure on the fair market value of cannabis will happen. It is not "if", it is "when".
We can't provide food security for our local communities without local farmlands growing and distributing local food. Every acre used by an industrial cannabis operation is one less acre of local food-growing farmland. As a community and as a world, our greater need is food and food security, not recreational drugs or CBD therapies. There are plenty of other places to grow cannabis that have water, and don't currently grow food.
Community Values or Industrial Tax Revenue?
The only possible benefit to Santa Barbara county is tax revenue. This money comes at a great cost.
We also can't have industrial cannabis operations and agroecology & tourism operations in the same Nojoqui Falls Corridor. Neither the watershed nor the prominent wind eddies will support it. Visitors will stop visiting. The gateway to and from the Gaviota Coast and the Santa Ynez Valley, including Buellton, Solvang and Santa Barbara Wine Country, becomes an industrial zone to the senses.
Who are we, Santa Barbara? What is the Santa Barbara brand? Are we the evironmentalist, climate-smart American Riviera, or the Cannabis Growing Capital of the World?
We started offering our grass-fed, grass-finished beef raised on Restoration Oaks Ranch in 2021.
This is high quality meat from cattle that were raised on the grasses that their digestive systems were designed for. No corn finishing, no hormomes or anything else is injected to offset the bovine problems sometimes caused by unnatural diets. Grass raised & finished beef tastes a little different, is lighter on your stomach and is higher in key nutrients, including antioxidants, vitamins, and a beneficial fat called conjugated linoleic acid (CLA).
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 Minutes
2 tablespoons butter, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup minced shallots
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup blueberry vinegar
2 cups fresh blueberries
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
In a large saute pan over medium heat, melt one tablespoon of butter with the olive oil. Add the shallots, garlic, and rosemary and saute for 2 minutes.
Add the honey, salt, pepper and blueberries. Stir in the blueberry vinegar. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes or so until the blueberries begin to soften and the sauce begins to reduce.
Add the remaining one tablespoon of butter and cook for another 3 minutes.
Serve the sauce hot over either chicken or pork.
Recipe courtesy of Heather Blake, Originally posted on Rocky Mountain Cooking
This is a great article written by Tessa Purdon over at Food24 that describes why we should all be doing more cooking and eating food with vinegar. For most people, blueberry vinegar is new and different. We need to experiment! When a recipe or your food experiment calls for any kind of vinegar, consider blueberry vinegar instead of one of the traditional vinegars. There is no question about the health benefits, let's experiment with the taste. If you are on Facebook, post the results of your experiment on the Santa Barbara Blueberries Facebook page.
Santa Barbara Blueberries
Read more: Why We Should Be Cooking With (Blueberry) Vinegar
WHAT THE HECK IS A SHRUB?
In short, a shrub is a flavored drinking vinegar.
In the days before refrigeration, keeping healthy during the long winter months was a challenge. Shrubs were invented in colonial America to preserve the nutrients and flavor of fresh fruit from harvest until the next growing season. Shrubs were also used on long ocean voyages as a source of vitamin C. Lost for centuries, shrubs have been making a comeback in the craft cocktail scene, although as bottled they are non-alcoholic. Try mixing it with club soda for a tasty fruit soda, or add some spirits for an evening drink. Drinking vinegars are perfect for any time of day.
BLUEBERRY & VANILLA SHRUB
The blueberry & vanilla shrub is dark-colored and lush. Its flavor is strong and complex - not at all what you might expect. You need to sample it! This wonderful fermented drink is packed with anti-oxidants and great for mixing on a summer afternoon or fall evening. As you sip, know that your pro-biotic laced libation is really good for you.
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cooking Time: 35 Minutes
Cooling Time: 30 Minutes
1/2 cup finely chopped almonds, toasted
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
1/2 cup cold butter, cubed
1/4 cup cold vegetable shortening, cubed
3 tablespoons ice-cold water
3 tablespoons vodka, chilled
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 45 Minutes
Cooling Time: 15 Minutes
1/4 c. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 c. vegetable oil